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kingdom of God these children have an interest or portion. Mark x. 14. 2. The Apostles in accomplishing that commission, Mat. xxviii. 19, did disciple some children, viz. the children of discipled parents, Acts. ii. 39, and xv. 10.They are there called and accounted disciples, whom the false teachers would have brought under the yoke of circumcision after the manner of Moses, verse 1, 5.
of those were children, Exod. xii. 48. Acts. xxi. 21. Lydia and her household ; the jailor and all his were discipled and baptized, Acts. xvi. 15, 31, 33. Paul at Corinth took in the children into the holy school of Christ, 1 Cor. vii. 14. 3. Such children belong to Christ, for he calls them to him as his, to receive his blessing, Mark x. 13, 16. They are to be received in his name, Mark ix. 37. Luke ix, 48. They have a part in the Lord, Josh. xxii. 24, 25. Therefore they are disciples; for to belong to Christ, is to be a disciple of Christ, Mark ix. 41, with Mat. x. 42. Now if they be disciples, then they are members of the visible church, as from the equivalency of those terms was before shewed.
ARG. 5. The whole current and harmony of scripture shews, that ever since there was a 'visible church on earth, the children thereof have by the Lord's appointinent been a part of it. So it was in the Old, and it is and shall be so in the New Testament. Eve, the mother of all living, hath a promise made, Gen. iii. 15, not only of Christ the head seed, but through him also of a church seed, to proceed from her in za
continual lineal succession, which should continually be at visible enmity with, and stand at a distance, or be separated from, the seed of the serpent. Under that promise' made to Eve and her seed, the children of Adam are born, and are a part of the church in Adam's family: Even Cain was so, Gen. iv. 13, till cast out of the presence of God therein, verse 14, being now manifestly one of the seed of the serpent, 1 John iii. 12, and so becoming the Father of a wick. ed unchurched race. But then God appointed unto Eve another, viz. Seth, in whom to continue the line of her church seed, Gen. iv. 25. How it did continue in his seed in their
generation, Gen. v. sheweth. Hence the children of the church are called sons of God, (which is as much as members of the visible church) in contradiction to the daughters of men, Gen. vi. 2. If righteous Noah be taken into the Ark, (then the only preserving place of the church) his children are taken in with him, Gen. vii. 1, though one of them, viz. Ham, after proved degenerate and wicked ; but till he so appears, he is continued in the church with his breth, ren; so Gen. ix. 25, 26, 27, as the race of Ham, or his son Canaan (parent and children) are cursed; so Shem (parent and children) is blessed, and continued in the place of blessing, the church: As Japhet also, or Japhetes posterity (still parent and children) shall in time be brought in. The holy line mentioaed in Gen. xi. 10.-26, shews how the church continued in the seed of Shem, from him unto Abraham.
When that-race grew degenerate, Josh. xxiv. 2, then God called Abraham out of his country, and from his kindred, and established his cove. nant with him, which still took in parents and children, Gen. xvii. 7, 9. So it did after in the house of Israel, Deut. xxix, 11, 12, 13, and when any eminent restoration or establishment is promised to the church, the children thereof are still taken in, as sharers in the same, Psal. cii. 16, 28, and lxix, 35, 36. Jer. xxxii. 38, 39. Isa. lxv. 18, 19, 23. Now when Christ comes to set up the Gospel administration of his church in the New Testament, under the term of the kingdom of heaven, Mat. iii. 2, and xi. 11, he is so far from taking away childrens portion and membership therein, that himself asserts it,, Mat. xix. 14. The children of the Gentile, but now believing Corinthians, are holy, 1 Cor. vii. 14. The Apostle writing to the churches of Ephesus and Colosse, speaks to children, as a part thereof, Eph. vi. 1. Col. iii. 20. The inchurched Romans, and other Gentiles, stand on the root of covenanting Abraham, and in the olive or visible church, they and their chil. dren, till broken off (as the Jews were) by positive unbelief, or rejection of Christ, his truth or government, Rom. xi. 13, 16, 17-22. The children of the Jews, when they shall be called, shall be as aforetime in Church-estate, Jer. xxx. 20, with xxxi. 1. Ezek. xxxvii. 25-28. From all which it appears, that the series, or whole frame and current of scripture-expressions, doth hold forth the continuance of childrens mem
bership in the visible church, from the begioning to the end of the world.
PARTic. 4. The seed or children who became members together with their parents, (i. e. by
of their parents covenanting) are children in minority ; This appears, 1. Because such children are holy by their parents covenanting, who would else be unclean, 1 Cor. vii. 14, but they would not else necessarily be unclean, if they were adult; for then they might act for themselves, and so be holy by their personal covenanting: Neither on the other hand would they necessarily be holy, if adult, (as he asserts the children there to be) for they might continue Pagans. Therefore the Apostle intends only infants or children in minority. 2. It is a principle that carries evidence of light and reason with it, as to all transactions, civil. and ecclesastical, that if a man be of age he should answer for himself, John ix. 21. They that are come to years of discretion, so as to have knowledge and understanding, fit to act in a matter of that nature, or to covenant by their own personal act, Neh. X. 28, 29. Isa. xliv. 5. 3. They that are regularly taken in with their parents, are reputed to be visible entertainers of the covenant, and avouchers of God to be their God, Deut. xxvi. 7, 18, with Deut. xxix. 11, 12. But if adult children should, without regard to their own personal act, be taken in with their parents, then some might be reputed entertainers, that are manifest rejecters of the covenant ; for so an adult son or daughter of a. godly parent may be.
Partic. 5. It is requisite to the membership of children, that the next parents one or both, be in covenant. For although after-generations have no small benefit by their pious ancestors, who derive federal holiness to their succeeding generations, in case they keep their standing in the covenant, and be not apostates from it, yet the piety of ancestors sufficeth not, unless the next parent continue in covenant, Rom. xi. 22. 1. Because if the next parent be cut or broken off, the following seed are broken off, also, Exod. xx. 5. Rom. xi. 17, 19, 20, as the Gentile believing parents and children were taken in; so the Jews parents and children were then broken off. 2. One of the parents must be a believer, or else the children are unclean, 1 Cor. vii. 14. 3. If children may be accounted members and baptized, though the next parents be not in covenant, then the church should be bound to baptize those, whom she can have no power over, nor hope concerning, to see them brought up in the true christian religion, and under the ordinances : For the next parents being wicked, and not in covenant, may carry away, and bring up their children to serve other gods. 4. If we stop not at the next parents, but grant that ancesters may, notwithstanding the apostácy of the next parents, convey membership unto children, then we should want a ground where to stop, and then all the children on earth should have a right to membership and baptism.